September 29, 2009

Just for you

You know who you are. Here are the pics of Keelan's 'crib'. Of course, as soon as the photos were taken, I realized just how much is still left to be done. The rest is up to him. I'll vanquish brick 'n ivy wallpaper, but I won't unpack his boxes. Or sort out his wires. He did take a stab at assembling the Bowflex though. It had spent the last few weeks imitating a defeated Terminator. Problem is, there just doesn't seem to be enough clearance for the top piece. Maybe we'll have to cut a hole in the ceiling. Not.

These could be good chewy bits...

...but they're too high up, on the shelf in the garage. Like this one. It's a coring from when Norm was making a hole in the floor to run some cable or something. Apparently, these are some thick floors!

Or this one, from the garage wall where Norm made a hole to vent the dryer exhaust. It's out of order, but there was drywall, fir board and cedar siding. No particle board. No buffalo board. Dry and solid.

By the time he did those ones, he kind of knew what to expect from the house. What was really interesting was watching him at his first project: retrofitting a central-vac. Every wall he cut through for installing outlets, he found double layers of drywall. Whoever built this house wanted it to last forever. I'm glad for that, but still think they should just give the leftover bits to me. Then I might consider leaving off on the mail that keeps coming through the slot.

September 28, 2009

A Girl's Best Friend

Yes, kneepads are my best friend. If only I had discovered them before day three of floor laying. A worthwhile investment (especially considering I didn’t have to buy them because we had them already) and an interesting fashion statement, no? I think the huge tape measure really makes the outfit.

Don’t get too excited…the only flooring I’ve installed so far is in the basement. Anybody out there with teenaged children knows that renovating with a 17-year-old means first ensuring that he has a habitable space in which to retire when his parents are madly waving power tools and paint brushes. You can see the post below for photos of the basement, which we finished at the beginning of September before we even moved into the house.

Despite our 30+ temperatures last week, fall is fast approaching, which means we have to get all the venting and cabling and exterior painting (and anything else that involves climbing ladders and scrambling around on the roof) done, pronto. This was a regular two-day weekend for me so things had to be prioritized. The one thing that stands out from renovating our last house was that things invariably take three times longer than I think they will. Even if I account for them taking three times longer than I think they will. So with this managed expectation in mind, I ventured out this weekend to paint window sashes and trim. And promptly stopped because the overgrowth of trees and bushes had to be trimmed before I could get anywhere near the windows – upper or lower. Casualty: one extension cord, obviously not designed to withstand the rigors of my hedge trimmer rampage. Result: accessible windows, but only if you first make your way over the four foot piles of trimmings. On with the painting. Which will take at least two weekends. Even with the help of the aforementioned teenager. Casualty: one storm window, obviously not designed to be picked up by its frame, and certainly not meant to be carried up the ladder that way.

The good thing about foliage hacking and exterior painting is it allows you to get close-up with the house and see things that might otherwise go unnoticed. Broken latches on the storm windows. Shingles that need to be replaced. Ladybug conventions in the eaves. Gravesites. After clearing an area at the far side of the house (and subsequently cleaning up more of it after dropping the storm window) I noticed this

on the east side of the house, bordered on two other sides by a 6 foot fence and huge trees. A cool, dark area that doesn’t support much in the way of flowers. I say this because Keelan suggested that it was a flower bed. Sorry to disappoint, but who would put a flower bed here? Besides, I like my idea better. It’s the resting place for a beloved, albeit large, family pet. Or a small man. The stone markers are what broke the storm window. Well, okay, the fall from the ladder probably didn’t help.

Now that I have my own Blogger Account...

I’ll give you a bit of a tour, but first…

This carpet is absolutely the best thing for backskritchers. I don’t know why they want to take it out.

Here’s Seth in the living room before the boxes were moved in.

I think he likes it. Now that the boxes are here, it’s like a great maze and I’ve mastered zipping around in the dark while my people are still stubbing toes and bumping shins. Why don’t they turn on a light, you ask? There aren’t any. At least not in the living room which is where most of the boxes are.

I don’t get to use the camera. Yet. But here’s part of me in Norm’s office during a break in the floor-sanding.

I had to walk really carefully…wouldn’t want to scratch the floor. Now I’m in the guest room.

See how I’m the same colour as the old finish on the floor? I don’t know why they’d want to sand it off…it’s a great colour.

This is my boy’s basement.

Now he’s all set up down there with his bedroom and living room, violin, lizards, computer and Bowflex. Sometimes he even comes upstairs. Actually he has to come upstairs to eat. And to wrestle with me in the backyard. And to take me for walks by the river where we mock the owls.

It’s all done now, but I don’t go down there. Slippery wooden stairs. I did lay at the top of the stairs and watch all the work through the railing. Here’s what it looked like before.

This is my new park. I love it here. And it’s right up the road from my new house, so I get to go lots.

Can you see me?

Here comes my new friend Ben.

He wrestles pretty good for a Golden.

September 1, 2009

Here she is

Norm is calling this his "job jar for life". After months of looking we ended up back where we started. The time seemed right to leave my house, which we had already renovated, in search of something we could make "our" home. With 2 out of my 3 kids grown and gone, we wanted a different space, closer to downtown. Here's the house I fell in love with as soon as I walked in the door. Don't even ask me why. We originally saw the house in June at a price that was out of reach. After that, all the other places we looked at just didn't do anything for me. Some price dropping, good timing on the part of my realtor, and a bit of luck came into play and the next thing you know, we have a new house on August 28. A 1961 custom-built executive home, 1.5 storeys, 70x120 lot (that's huge for inner city). I needed a new project and here it is:

Yah, there really is a house behind there.

Don't panic...the snow is from last year.

I love the stonework on the outside....

View of back

More and more back yard

...but I'm not so keen on the stonework on the inside. We'll fix that. Also, do you think I should keep the rusty coloured plush?

This, folks, is my gourmet kitchen. A chef's dream. What, can't you see it? Visualize, people, come on!

Affectionately known as the "hub room", this will be the TV room/library.

Ah, the basement. Part of the retro tile work was covered with brown shag. Not anymore. The entire basement has already been painted and new flooring is in progress. BTW, you can find anything you need on YouTube, including a demo of how to install interlocking flooring - I hadn't used that kind before.

I so called it...

I didn't think about it at the time because when we were house hunting things like "dog park" and "proximity to downtown" were paramount. Where the mailman puts the mail, well, it didn't enter into the equation. The thing is, the 'new' house has a mail slot in the door, not a mailbox. I didn't give it a second thought when I saw it. Until an epiphany on the weekend while I was driving. Hmmmm....Rory. Rory and paper. Rory snagging any paper he can get his lips on and tearing said paper to shreds. Hmmmm...Rory and a mail slot. Oh no!!! Sure enough, the first casualty was a bill from the satelite company. Itty bitty pieces. Do you suppose there exist dog-proof mail catchers?